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Pets in apartments – more changes on the horizon

Dog and cat lovers of Queensland have started a silent revolution, and it’s coming to an apartment building near you! Last year we reported on a resident who disputed her body corp’s right to turf out her moggy. Their by-laws said a pet could be kept with consent of the committee, so the Adjudicator found they couldn’t impose a complete ban on pets. Unless there was good reason to keep the animal out, approval must be given.

This “only with committee approval” by-law is the most common dealing with pets – the vast majority of buildings have similar wording. So despite this and similar precedents been set, the anti-pets brigade have been relaxing where their building has clear by-laws that simply say “no pets whatsoever”, full stop.

But a September Tribunal judgement has opened the doggy-door even wider. In this matter the Adjudicator declared that any blanket ban was invalid because each animal should be considered on its merits. A body corp, they said, has no power to take away the freedom of a person to own an animal.

And an order handed down last week for the “212 on Margaret” tower in Brisbane’s CBD has confirmed this view, quoting the precedent above in ruling the building’s no pets by-law to be invalid. In this case the pet owner proposed a new by-law that provided guidelines for the keeping of animals, items that would ensure pets wouldn’t impact on neighbours’ quiet enjoyment. The Tribunal gave it the nod.

There’s only been a handful of precedents set and we’re not lawyers – seek sound advice before you act. But the message to bodies corporate seems clear. You can regulate the keeping of pets to ensure their impacts on your building and its residents are minimised. But you can’t ban them.

This might send the fur flying at some upcoming AGM’s.